Looks Like Bribery's Legal

Messy campaign finance system explains Blago verdict: Scott Turow
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2010 6:20 AM CDT
Looks Like Bribery's Legal
Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich talks to the media outside of his home on the north side of Chicago after being convicted on one of 24 counts in his federal corruption trial on Tuesday Aug. 17, 2010.   (AP Photo/Eric Y. Exit)

An Illinois jury's failure to convict Rod Blagojevich on bribery-related charges despite damning evidence starts to make sense when you look at America's shambolic campaign finance system, argues Scott Turow. The huge number of loopholes, together with the Supreme Court's decision to lift restrictions on corporate campaign donations, has turned the system into "little more than a form of legalized influence-buyin," the lawyer and best-selling author writes in the New York Times.

Under the current system, only those as "crass and ham-handed" as Blago are ever likely to face prosecution for soliciting and taking bribes, Turow writes. The Constitution should be amended to reverse "the notion that unrestricted political spending deserves protection as free speech," he concludes. "Without that, who could fault a juror for looking around at contemporary political life and feeling that Rod Blagojevich had been unfairly singled out?" (More Blagojevich trial stories.)

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